photo credit: Karli Evans
On paper, Stubborn Seed is the kind of restaurant that could go very wrong. It’s an upscale, expensive South Beach spot with a menu that often features words like “wagyu” and “foam” and (at the time of this writing) several mentions of the word “truffle.”
None of those things are inherently bad, but in South Beach they’re often red flags for sceney, overpriced spots you and your wallet should avoid at all costs. But thankfully, Stubborn Seed is none of those things. Instead, the South of Fifth restaurant is consistently delicious, interesting, and so not the kind of place where your reservation will be bumped for a D-list celebrity’s last-minute party of eight.
Instead, Stubborn Seed is the kind of restaurant to visit when you want a snapper crudo that’ll make you drop your fork, sprint to the ocean, and scream, “Thank you!” It’s a place where foie gras and truffle are deployed not simply to drain your bank account, but because they actually make the dish in front of you better.
The food is certainly the main reason to come here. The rotating menu is small, with generally about a dozen dishes that strike a great balance between looking like things you’d nod thoughtfully towards at Art Basel and food you actually want to eat.
There’s nothing too remarkable about the restaurant itself that’ll draw your attention away from the plate. The dining room has an industrial vibe, with metal pipes, dark walls, and a rock-heavy soundtrack. It’s a sort of dreary aesthetic that might make you sleepy if you’re not eating with someone interesting. But even if the person sitting across from you only wants to talk about a dream they had about doing their taxes, you’ll inevitably be jolted back to life by something you eat. And if you do feel the desire to shout your gratitude into the waves, the beach is only three blocks away. Just try not to scare the tourists.
The menu at Stubborn Seed changes frequently, but here are a few examples of the kind of dishes you might find here.
These oysters aren’t huge, but they are delicious. The meat is chewy, and fights back rather than just sitting there all soggy. They also don’t give you any extra mignonette, which is good because you don’t want to mess this thing up with an aggressive spooning.
Cacio E Pepe Cheesy Puffs
These remind us more of a biscuit than a puff, but they’re great nonetheless. The impossibly soft discs of bread are covered in shaved cheese and come with a side of pickles to help cut through all that cheesy dough.
The crudo options here change a lot. But it’s always a safe bet to order it because Stubborn Seed excels at the art of raw fish. They tend to cover that fish in something incredible too—like a slightly spicy habanero yogurt or buttermilk dressing.
Gooey Jalapeño Fritters
This is a great bite to get on the table. And the crispy little circular fritters aren’t even the best part of the dish. That honor goes to the ultra-thin shaved wagyu and single truffle shaving they somehow balance atop the fritters.
Koji Wagyu Ribeye
The way they prepare this small portion of ribeye changes often. But, whatever they arrange around it, one thing remains the same: this is a very tasty piece of beef—especially when covered in miso butter (as was the case last time we ordered it).